Running any type of race can potentially be challenging and intimidating; from hometown 5ks to city-based marathons, different events pose different obstacles (sometimes, quite literally), and each will require a specific type of training to increase your chances of success.
There are some, however, who push this notion to its limit, entering races both obscure and, potentially, unfathomably difficult. These events are some of the most unthinkable feats in aerobic athletics, and they are intended for only those daring enough to attempt them.
Continued from part one, here are several more of the craziest races in the world.
Though a standard marathon may seem short compared to other races included on this list, it stands as one of the toughest 26.2 mile competitions in the world.
The race starts at the Mount Everest Expedition Base Camp, after which it follows a course that almost entirely downhill (minus two brief uphill segments); this sounds easy at first, but over time the downhill inclines will begin to take their toll on your quad muscles. Pair this challenge with incredibly cold conditions and you are left with a race where top finishers are lucky to break four hours. Still, the race provides some of the most stunning views of any marathon out there, and this alone makes it worth the pain.
The Badwater Ultramarathon, also known as the Badwater 135, is a 135-mile race taking runners from Death Valley’s Badwater Basin to Mount Whitney, and naturally, this means you will encounter some of the “lowest valleys and highest peaks in the U.S.”
The race is regarded by some as “the world’s toughest foot race,” and for good reason; its course is extremely demanding with its arid conditions and 14,600 feet of cumulative ascent. In fact, the race’s website strongly encourages participants to bring their own personal race crews (in addition to race staff), suggesting to include at least one medical professional and an experienced aerobic athlete.
As if dog racing was not crazy enough, the Iditarod trail is also home to the longest winter ultramarathon in the world. Competitors can choose between 350- and 1000-mile race options, both of which entail running, cycling, or skiing through snow and frigid air toward the finish line, which is located in the village of McGrath.
Obviously, proper equipment will be a must if you even want a chance at finishing, so be sure to heavily research the “notoriously inhospitable” course and plan accordingly. Should you make it to McGrath, however, the experience and sense of accomplishment will be unparalleled.